Interview by George Archibald
Photos by Andrew Bastion
The brainchild of Miles Dimitri Baker and Aaron Stechauner, Interloper has become an underground phenomenon. Both members are also known more for their other music project Rings of Saturn, which has a wide international fan base. Interloper has some similarities with Rings of Saturn musically, as the focus is on very technical guitar work and intricate drumming, but what makes Interloper stand out is the vocals. The band, to appeal to a broad audience, decided to bring in vocalist Cody Lumpkin to do clean singing for the band. Interloper began officially in 2014 with the release of the single, “Red Letter Day”. At that time, an instrumental track, it gathered quite the following as both Miles and Aaron’s musical talents we on display in full virtuoso fashion. This track sparked quite the buzz in the underground scene and especially with other guitar players, who were chomping at the bit to hear more from the band. In 2017, Interloper was invited to play their first show at the Schecter Guitar’s NAMM after party, which the performance had rave reviews. I was able to sit down with Aaron Stechauner and Miles Dimitri Baker to learn more about the band, and what is to come for them in 2018.
GA: Please tell me a bit about the project since I last talked to you, Interloper was an instrumental project then and you had some lineup changes, as well as additions to the project?
MB: The lineup consists of Cody Lumpkin doing vocals, and Andrew Virrueta on guitar along with myself, and Aaron Stechauner on drums. We have a handful of new songs written and the album is on its way. Hopefully once this tour is over, we will be able to get more done with it. There are some other things in the works, but I can’t mention them just yet.
GA: How did you settle on the style of vocals for this project? From the material I heard it seems that you went with a vocalist that is primarily doing cleans as opposed to harsh vocals with what you do with your other project.
AS: We wanted clean vocals, it’s a style of vocals that we both enjoy listening to. We have sort of grown away from the harsher screaming styled vocals. Miles and I already play in a death metal harsh vocal band, so we wanted to do something new. We wanted play in a band where the ceiling is a bit higher, play with some other types of bands that we like. Playing in Rings of Saturn we get to play with a lot of cool bands we like but there are limitations. We probably will not get the opportunity to play with other bands we like such as: Protest the Hero, Tesseract, Between the Buried and Me, or Nightwish because of the style differences. Rings of Saturn probably wouldn’t fit on those bills, where Interloper would. There are a few other reasons why we choose this, but it’s mainly because it’s the type of music we like to make.
GA: So basically, you are broadening your playing possibilities.
AS: Definitely. Ultimately, we are making music that we love to listen to.
GA: Interloper recently made their debut live, what was it like performing for the first time?
MB: It was a lot of fun. It was weird because I had the first show nerves. After all the tours and shows that I have done with Rings of Saturn I don’t really get nervous anymore, but with that Interloper show it was weird because I felt them again. The show was fun, we had a lot of friends and family there.
AS: It went over a lot better than what I expected. I figured we would do well. We packed the show out, everyone who came was super intrigued. A lot of our friends and family who are fans of Rings of Saturn told us, that they had high expectations of us and we still had exceeded them. I knew we all were going to perform well, but I wasn’t expecting everyone’s reactions to be as mesmerized as they were. It spoke volumes to me as far as what I know what we can do. Therefore, we are pushing it so much, and working so hard to make this project a full time touring thing.
GA: That must be a great feeling to get that kind of validation for your first show. You worked on something that is different from what you are known for, it is just paying off. I saw that the band was invited to NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), what was that experience like?
MB: That show we played was a part of the Schecter Guitar’s NAMM afterparty. We all go there every year, because of the companies we all work with. It was cool though to show up and play as Interloper. NAMM is always cool, its hectic but you run into a lot of people you know, but it is fun. It is also close to where we live so that makes it even cooler.
AS: It’s cool to go see the artists reps and run into people you know, but it is a lot of walking around. So, it is nice to live close, so I can stop in for a few hours and then dip when I feel like it.
GA: Can you tell me some of the gear the band is using live when performing? I know you got a few new guitars and it would be interesting to know more about them.
MB: For guitars I am using all Schecter, I have been using their six string Super Shredders. I like the Super Strats that Schecter makes, they are totally cool, and I am really into them. I also have also been using the Jeff Loomis signature model 7 string. Then everything else I also use for Rings of Saturn. I have a Shure wireless in ear monitors, Line 6 wireless for guitar, FocusRite interfaces, and Fractal Ax Fx, nothing else has changed. Andrew is using a Legator Ghost and he also has a tele caster model, but I don’t remember the name. He is also using Fractal Ax Fx.
GA: Aaron has your set up changed for Interloper?
AS: I didn’t really change up my set up, but I use Tama drums, Meinl cymbals, Remo drumheads, Vic Firth sticks, Westone in ear monitors. Everything is pretty much the same as for Rings. I have gotten a couple different Tama kits from the last time we spoke, different colors and finishes. I was using the Rock Star Classic, which I still have at home but on these tours, I have been using a Silver Star kit.
GA: When can we expect an album? Is the music finished, or are you going to make a few additions before we see a full length?
AS: The album is close to being finished. We have a couple songs to start writing, and a few more to finish up on. I would say we are more than halfway done. As far as a release goes, we are hoping for a late 2018, early 2019-time period.
GA: I know the members of Interloper are also involved in other projects, how do you all balance your time and where do you want to see Interloper in say, a years’ time?
MB: All we do is play music, so it is easy to balance. It gets to be a little bit of a crunch leading up to a Rings tour, where we have a lot to practice, and have to get the chops up to maintain. When I am at home I don’t really practice the Rings material that much, there are other things I prefer to play in my free time. I would like to see Interloper touring. and doing the same kinds of stuff that we are doing now in Rings. The goal is to make it a full on real project, I think most of us want to take it to the road and see what it can do.
GA: Where can people keep up to date on Interloper? If you have merchandise online where can people go to support you?
MB: We have a merchandise store it is http://interloperofficialmerchstore.bigcartel.com/ . We are also on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/Interloperofficial ), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/InterloperOfficial/ ), and Instagram (@interloperofficialgram). Instagram is probably the best way to keep in contact with the members since Facebook is starting to fade.
AS: You can also follow not only the band, but the individual members on social media. I have my own Instagram (@stechnauner), as well as Miles (@milesdimitribaker), Andrew (@trve_kvlt666) and Cody (@i_are_cody) are all on there. My personal YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU-lmINkb9DtKRb32YYZSmA ) has Interloper playthroughs coming, I have them filmed and tracked just have to edit them. All these social media outlets are a great place to keep up to date on the band and what the members are all up to. We will be keeping everyone up to date on when we will be releasing stuff.
MB: In addition, we are on Apple Music, Itunes, and Spotify.
GA: Anything else you would like to add?
MB: Thank you all for the support, please keep up to date with us there is a lot of cool stuff coming. As Aaron said, a lot of our social media is active so please continue to check us out for content.